Good morning, friends, and mothers in particular.
It's almost Mother's Day - that day set aside once a year to honor our dear mothers. This is a day so dear to my own heart, since I have been blessed with eight children and soon eighteen grandchildren. I am so undeserving, yet God has blessed me richly.
The celebration usually begins with a cheery phone call from one of the children. With the sons, it usually starts like this: "I guess you are a mother today." Guys are funny that way. I know they treasure me, but it's just hard to say it that way. The calls always end up with, "I love you." But, then, I already knew that.
I hear those words from my sons often throughout the year, but on Mother's Day, it takes on special significance. It's very precious to hear. I know they have thought of me and put aside a special time from their busy schedule to say so.
The girls are different. Being mothers themselves, they value the tender words that come their way on their special day, so I may get a very heartfelt letter or card from them. I always keep those close at hand, so that I can read over them during a "down time" I may be experiencing. These, too, are so dear to my heart.
Mother's Day has a way of taking us back to the beginning of motherhood. We marvel at all God has given us and wonder where the years have gone. I think about each one of our children and assess what I feel I have done right and what I should have done differently. I try not to take too much credit for the great qualities I see in each one or take the blame if those qualities are not prominent. They are all great kids. Each one is so unique and so cherished.
I'm thinking that God has a special place in His heart for mamas or He would have simply made Jesus appear out of nowhere. Did you ever think of it that way? God entrusted a woman to bear His one and only Son!
I realize Jesus' birth by a virgin was prophesied, but it could have been planned in a different fashion. Knowing our value to God makes me realize what a precious gift we woman have been given to honor God through teaching, nurturing and guiding our children through their lives.
I have found that our job is never done. The old cliche, "When they are little, they step on your toes, and when they are older, they step on your heart," is so true. Mothering is a job of great rewards, sometimes sprinkled with pain. I surely wouldn't trade my job for anything in all the world!
When our children were young, I made it a priority to take them to church and teach them the word of God. I prayed with them often, but the most difficult part of mothering comes not with the activities we perform daily, but the example we set with our own lives. I often failed miserably, for which I am thankful for God's forgiveness. Even in failing, though, God gave me the courage to rise again and keep on with His help.
Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on me ... but what about the children who never had a Christian mother?
As I look around me today, I see so much pain and devastation in families. What's a mother to do, especially once her children are grown and living their own lives? I believe the most important part of mothering is two-fold: never stop praying and always meditate on the word of God to find wisdom, encouragement, strength and God's love for the not-so-lovely situations in our families today.
Meditating on the word of God, coupled with prayer, is the most effective way of helping our children, mothers. I wonder if this practice is taking back seat to so many activities; we are all so busy, running in circles all day long, all year long and year after year. Then the children are grown and our window of opportunity for the greatest influence is gone ... forever. How sad.
Meditating takes time, as indicated by the meaning - to think deeply and continuously about something. Henry Blackaby, great theologian, said this means that we stay in God's presence and ponder each truth He reveals to us until it becomes real and personal in our lives. Once a truth becomes real to us, it will move from our head to our heart and hopefully come out in the form of obedience to that truth. This, then, is where our faith finds feet; where true change begins.
Psalm 119:11 states, "I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
I am so very thankful for the place the Bible has played in raising our children. If left to myself, I am quite convinced that I would have failed miserably as a mother. I did, indeed, fail at times, but I always knew where to go when I did. The precious promises of the Bible kept me grounded, offered hope, encouraged me and filled me with love over the years.
In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible states, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God my be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Amen! I am so thankful that the word of God often corrected me but also equipped me for the blessedness of motherhood.
Perhaps you have been blessed with a Christian mother - one who encouraged you, prayed for you, taught you the ways of God and loved you unconditionally. You may have a long legacy of praying mothers and grandmothers. If so, praise God for them. You are so very blessed! But maybe as you are reading today, dear mother, you are feeling condemned or inadequate. Let it not be so. Rather, begin again today!
I always maintain, "As long as there is breath, there is hope."
You may know something of my life story; my own mother told me there was no God. I grieve for her loss, but it was my gain. If she were here today, I would run up and hug her, and thank her for the part she played in my walk of faith. You see, I was determined to prove her wrong! I praise God that He never gave up on me. He won't give up on you either.
Happy Mother's Day!
Debby Renninger is a free-lance writer and inspirational speaker. She is the leader of the women's ministry at Pine Glen Church of the Brethren and also leads a weekly Bible study, "Beauty for Ashes," in her home in McVeytown. Renninger may be reached at 250-7086.